Subsidy Free Medicines In Lebanon Makes Medication Unaffordable

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Lebanon LebanonNothing is getting to be easier for Lebanon as it is now medicine prices that have hit the roof this week, after subsidies were lifted. With an economic meltdown that ushered in acute poverty two years ago, there is no way that the Lebanese common man can dream of affording medicines.

Covid-19 has already crippled the sluggish movement of medical treatment and infrastructure of the country. Further, Lebanon does not hold the stature of a medicinal hub it used to a decade ago.

Most subsidies have been lifted on live saving drugs and chronic illnesses; the Lebanese Ministry of Public Health has shared in a formal statement. This comes as the cash strapped economy is unable to provide any kind of subsidy.

Read | Lebanon barely sustains with crippling economy but is there any hope for revival

After the formal announcement made by Health Minister Firass Abiad last week, pharmacists have now put up a new list of prices which show prices five to six times the subsidized ones. The gradual lift of subsidies has definitely not been as gradual as expected, sending panic waves amongst Lebanese that are battling with ailments like heart disease, high cholesterol and high blood pressure.

Apparently, subsidy seems to have been lifted on other items also. For example, a packet of baby formula that lasts three days used to cost 12,000 Lebanese pounds ($0.50 at the market rate) before the latest decision. The same packet is now priced at 98,000 pounds ($4.20).

It is worth noting that 80percent of the Lebanese population reels under the poverty line. One can also blame it on the despicable condition of the economy that has been surviving on foreign loans and does not have any means of creating its own revenue.

Since late 2019, the Lebanese pound has lost more than 90 per cent of its worth, slashing the value of salaries as costs for basic goods rise. The minimum wage of 675,000 Lebanese was worth $450 in 2019. It is now equal to less than $30.

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